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The 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail is a must-do pure Florida experience for any trail enthusiast. Situated between Orlando and Tampa, it hosts a steady stream of visitors and locals on its paved path and adjacent equestrian trail.
The Withlacoochee's length, popularity and proximity to numerous communities have given rise to five trailheads, information kiosks, colorful murals and convenient parks. Although the trail makes for a long journey, food and drink are never too far as you travel southbound through Citrus Springs, Inverness, Floral City, Istachatta and Trilby.
For much of its length, the trail parallels the Withlacoochee River, a state-designated paddling trail. The best place to catch river views and put in your canoe or kayak is at Nobelton Wayside Park, about 8 miles south of Floral City. From here the trail crosses the Withlacoochee State Forest and Croom Wildlife Management Area. In the mornings and early evenings expect to see deer along this roughly 6-mile stretch. Near the southern boundary, Silver Lake Recreation Area offers year-round camping.
Several miles farther south is the heavily used Ridge Manor trailhead, just off US 98/SR 50. Fortunately, a state-of-the-art overpass leads safely across the congested roadway.
To reach the Gulf Junction trailhead from Dunnellon, take US 41 south and turn right on Magenta Drive. Follow Magenta to the marked trailhead on the left.
To reach the South Citrus Springs trailhead, continue south on US 41 to South Citrus Springs Boulevard and head west one block. The trailhead is on the left.
To reach the Inverness trailhead, continue south on US 41 to Inverness and turn left on North Apopka Avenue. The marked trailhead is a few blocks up North Apopka.
To reach the Ridge Manor trailhead, take I-75 to Exit 301 and head east on US 98/SR 50. After about 1 mile, turn left on Croom Rital Road and look for the trailhead on the right.
To reach the Owensboro Junction trailhead from Trilby, head south on US 301/98. The trailhead lies just south of town on the right.
Withlacoochee State Trail,
3100 South Old Floral City Road,
Inveness, Fl 34450,
This is a very long trail and we were a bit overwhelmed by the length of this trail, since we live almost two hours away. Where do I start? Where do we grab lunch? What if we break down?
I invite you to read the other reviews. I hope this helps fill in some gaps.
Here's what we did:
Broke it into three sections. Day one we started at the red caboose. Google the address for David's World Cycle and you can find it easily a stone's throw away (There's another bike shop about a block away. Very nice people there as well.) We rode south almost to Hernando County. On the way back we stopped at Robin's Country Kitchen for a bite. (See TripAdvisor for review).
Day Two: Weeks later we nearly froze as we started at the Owensboro Trailhead (no restrooms there, by the way) and went north into Citrus County. The Townsen Lake Preserve had a sandy trail to it, so it was impossible for us to get the TerraTrikes all the way there. Met the ranger at Ridge Manor and he was a friendly fellow who advised us about possible wild turkey sightings.
Day Three: Yesterday we parked just north of 486 and scooted north to finish it off. Just before 491you can turn left (unmarked) and end up .5 mile later at a nice county park. (Central Ridge )On Saturdays there's a lot of soccer action, but you could grab typical concession stand fare: burgers, dogs, cokes, fries, etc. there if you want. 491 is a very busy crossing with no lights to help. You can't pedal down to the light without jumping on the highway (no bike lane there, either.) Just be careful and bring your patience.
1) Just north of 486 there's a place called Burger Station on the east side of the trail. We stopped after other cyclists' gave a good recommendation. It was very busy and only saw burgers so we left. Had a great aroma though!
2) If you break something on your bike, there's an Ace hardware store at the corner of 486 and 41.
I rode the entire length trail out and back as part of a RUSA randonneur ride this fall. It was a few weeks after Hurricane Irma hit and the trail was clear of all debris. Kudos to the local trail clubs and the State Park service on maintaining the trail so well. Plenty of resources along the trail for water stops and bathrooms. Trail is well marked and road crossings are decent. Several sections are have plenty of tree canopy to keep you cooler on hotter days. Drove up from South Florida to ride this trail.
Very well maintained. Only wish there were more trash cans on the Citrus County side.
I learned the trail is not patrolled by law enforcement making escape from an attack impossible. My bicycle was destroyed and I was severely beaten by two bearded bicycle riders I never encountered before. Can be a dangerous ride.
Great ride! We're training for the Climate Ride in September 2017. The Withlacoochee Trail was part of our miles training. We started at the Lacoochie/Dade City trailhead on day 1. Ended 46 miles later and peddled an additional 2-3 miles to Dunnellon where we stayed for the night. Day 2 peddled back. The trail is wide, debris free, safe, shaded and the restrooms are clean. Floral City is a great half way point for getting water or Gatorade. There is at least one convenience store in Floral. The bike store, Trailside, is essentially on the trail. However, they are not open on Sundays.
I rode the central portion of this trail (approximately 15 miles) from Lake Townsen Preserve near Nobleton north to Inverness. This section of the trail is mostly flat and tree-covered rolling past rural homesteads and pastures with occasional road crossings. The trail makes a number of gentle turns along the way. It was very lightly used when I rode it which allowed me to maintain a brisk pace without interruption. The old railway mileage markers along the trail are a nice touch. Floral City a few miles south of Inverness is a picturesque representation of old Florida with a few bike shops and eating establishments that cater to trail users. Continuing north brings you to some nice lake views and to several parks along the trail. Inverness is a larger community, but maintains a small town look. It's obvious that they done much to make the ride through town a pleasant experience by maintaining the railway heritage of the trail with the preserved old train depot and the red caboose. I took a side trip and rode around the town a bit to take in some sights and check out the old court house before turning around to make my way back to my starting point. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. Highly recommended!
This is one of the most satisfying Trails I have ridden! Lot of wildlife and the scenery is incredibly topical for Central Florida. I would recommend this trail to anyone who likes a mild challenge but take your time and enjoy all that it has to offer
This is the nicest really ever been on. Based on traffic scenery and Facilities. You can stay at the Central Motel in Inverness. It is about halfway on the trail and the trail is a block away. Excellent restaurants in Inverness a nice little town to visit.
I came here from across the state specifically to walk this trail. Lovely weather in December and the walk was wonderful. I walked alone and felt very safe with security people monitoring much of the trail in pickup trucks. People were exceptionally friendly on the trail. It was very clean and well maintained throughout. I was impressed. I especially loved the areas of country walking near cattle and horse ranches. A chance to reconnect with nature again.
My husband and I (ages 62 & 70) were looking for a good place to ride our bikes and found this trail. We got on the trail at the Floral City trail head and rode 6 miles north and back. The next morning we came back and rode 10 miles south and back. What an enjoyable ride. It was early in June and already fairly warm so it was great that the trail was about 80% shaded. Loved it and will definitely go back and ride it again.
The path is paved and well maintained. It is tree lined almost the entire way. It is mostly flat with very gentle up-and-downs. Inverness, Floral City and Lake Townsend Park have well maintained restrooms with water. Inverness and Floral City have bike shops. If you can only do 14 miles of the path, the stretch from Lake Townsend Park to Inverness is the nicest - quiet, scenic, with a canopy of trees that shades the path most of the way. North of Inverness the path runs near the road. You can't see it but you can hear it. South of Townsend Park the trail is tree lined, but a bit more open, exposed to the midday sun. Floral City is halfway. We did most of the southern half one day, parking at Lake Townsend Park. Then did most of the northern half the next day, parking at Inverness. A real gem.
Not many changes for water going south from the start.
I think I ran into 4 the entire trip and 1 was non functional.
The beauty is incredible only second to the sounds and scents of the ride.
Today was my first time on this trail. I got on near Cortez blvd about 4 miles south of the Trilby trail head. I have to say I was very impress from the beginning. There was plenty of shade, the scenery was beautiful, plenty of picnic areas and rest rooms and an abundant of wildlife to enjoy. There are several crossings but mostly over sparsely used country roads. For the most part you can check the traffic from several feet from the crossing and may only have to slow down before continuing. I only went halfway through before turning around due to time constraints. I think next weekend I'm clearing my calendar to ride additional miles. Be sure to bring snacks and plenty of water. I only seen one water spigot throughout my ride and no food stops. That being said, I'd like to thank Steven from, NY for giving me his Cliff bar and orange. They came in very handy.
I rode the Withlacoochee when we were RVing around Florida. We were staying at Rock Crusher Canyon Rv park in Crystal river and would drive over to the trail. I had a lot of fun and am so appreciative of the trail being there! It was in great shape, I always felt safe, and was smiling the whole time!
My two days on the Withlacoochee surpassed my expectations with a trip through old Florida, small rural communities - all taking advantage of trail users with food and lodging options - and terrific natural areas. We saw wildlife - turkeys, Sandhill cranes, turtles and birdlife - and though temps were warm we stayed mostly in the shade provided by the oak canopy. And enough bicycling and walking use to make the trail well used and interesting.
The trail is in good condition. The new Dunellon Trail on the north end of the trip - though the connection to the Withlacoochee Trail was not well signed - made the trip into the small city a little easier, getting us off Hwy. 41. We may want to add that 2.5m link to the RTC maps.
My son and I traveled this trail starting from the Croom road trailhead and headed north to Inverness. a very nice ride but with a small warning.it took us about 3hrs with a few stops at the river and a bike shop in floral city( which had no parking for bikes because they had their own bikes for sale in front of the bike parking).It seemed to be mostly downhill all the way and we were exsausted in the end, so we were unable to backtrack uphill and get to our starting point before dark.had to call the wife to pick us up in Inverness. So my advice is to start north and head south downhill. over all though a very pleasant ride.
My wife and I rode the southern 11.5 miles of the Withlacoochee Trail. First we rode 5 miles north from the Ridge Manor Trailhead to our stopping point last year at Croom Road where there is a bathroom and shelter. (We rode the northern portion of the Trail in February 2015.) Then we rode south to Trilby. The Trailhead had plenty of parking, a nice bathroom, water fountain and several covered picnic tables. The trail surface was excellent. The surroundings are all rural, except for the huge Walmart distribution center a short distance south of the Trailhead. The Ridge Manor Trailhead is about 2 miles east of I-75 on Rt. 98/50, just north of the bicycle overpass.
Started at Dunnellon and headed south for 25 miles. The Inverness part of the trail is very scenic! Loved that area. To that point you traverse through various commercial and industrial areas with many busy road crossings.
From the mid-point of Floral City, the northern half of the trail is a combination of "urban" and stretches of isolation. The southern half is a very quiet, almost totally isolated ride. Lots of benches and shelters along the whole trail. A great ride(s).
12/27/15, I started in Ridge Manor and did a 50 mile loop. This is a awesome trail and you will enjoy riding it !!!
My husband and I made this trail the destination for our vacation. Years ago The Today show aired a travel segment on the trail I never forgot. We rode 3 sections over 3 days and thoroughly enjoyed the trail. We loved the tree canopy over the majority of the sections we rode and the paved path was in good condition. We would return and highly recommend this trail. We had excellent food and service at the Pine Street Pub in Inverness. If you need bike service in Floral City, stop at Hampton's Edge trailside bicycles. The owners Regis and Cindy were friendly and helpful. Bring plenty of water and enjoy!
We parked at on the grassy parking area at Dunnellon trail head. Bathroom was locked but they had a very nice brochure and sign. Bathroom at Inverness was open. The trail is asphalt. We only made it to Lake Lindsey Road, Nobleton before we had to turn around in order to make it back to Dunnellon before dark when the trail closes.
Moderate use trail but not crowded. Mostly flat with sometimes long up and down gradual change in grade. Recumbent bikers liked to ride side by side but were good at moving over. The trail was wider than Gainesville Hawthorne but not quite wide enough for 2 recumbent bikes + our tandem. Lot of recumbent bikers.
1st maybe 10 miles of trail not very interesting (residential with many homes having screened over in ground pools, one garbage dump, and 2 junk yards one with 3 beetle bug cars lined up in a row.) but got more interesting as you approached Inverness. Nice park at Inverness. Miles were marked on the pavement, but in addition there were historical mile markers marking distance from/to Richmond, VA. Very cool, maybe someday there will be a trail to Richmond. Crossed 2 somewhat busy roads. Didn't see any wildlife.
I really enjoyed learning about the history of and other information about the trail at the information kiosks.
There seemed to be pretty many drinking fountains. One of them around the Citrus Springs area even had a fountain/bowl at the ground for dogs to get a drink.
I have ridden on this trail many times and have made the trip down and back in one day and broken it into parts. The trail is well maintained and has stops for water. Be aware the south end lot does not have a water fountain. The trail is about 50/50 in the shade and in the sun.
Stayed in Inverness for a destination weekend a month ago. The trail itself is beautiful. The birds sang constantly. I felt sorry for the earbud users. Inverness itself was great. Had good food everywhere. If only the lodging was closer to downtown. Too far and dark to walk or ride at night.
Overnight from Dunellon to Silver Lakes to camp, then return the next day.
No problem with overnight parking at north terminus.
People along the way very nice.
Lunch at Robins one day, Stumpknockers the next, both near or in Inverness.
Camping at Silver Lakes is an easy connect east at the 75 underpass, remember to have cash ($15/night).
Outstanding trip. Well done WST, we'll be back.
On separate rides, we did the lower half (Trilby to Floral City) and the upper half (Floral City to Dunnellon). Good for either workout or cruise. Both very enjoyable with occasional crossings, towns, and facilities. We particularly like Floral City as a start or rest point with great hotwings at the Shamrock Inn, and a friendly bike shop within yards of the trail. Free parking behind the library!
This is our local trail which we bike on several days per week. Its character is different on the northern half versus the southern half -- the southern part is more rural and has fewer places to stop for lunch, etc. All of it is very pleasant.
However, yesterday was the annual "Clean Air Ride" which brought hordes of road bike riders intent on riding fast, often as a two-abreast phalanx moving down the trail like a flying wedge even in the face of oncoming bike traffic. A good number of them apparently left at home any notion of observing good trail etiquette or even simply showing respect for other trail users. Their unfortunate and self-centered behavior certainly degraded my group's experience on the trail that day. Now I know to avoid using the trail during the Clean Air Ride in future years as those folks appear to want to monopolize the entire trail, while trying to crowd and bully slower bikers and being verbally unpleasant. If motorized vehicles were to employ the same crowding and pushing tactics against those bicyclists on a roadway, I'm confident they wouldn't appreciate that, just as we didn't appreciate their behavior on the trail yesterday. In strong contrast to yesterday, on normal days most Withlacoochee Trail users are quite courteous and friendly.
Rode most of the trail over the last two days. Started at Route 50 and rode to the north end then another approx 8 miles to Rainbow Springs State Park for the night, and back the next day. Very nice trail and well maintained with many shaded benches along the way to rest. There are bathrooms/porta potties and water along the waý, but sometimes the water stops are spread out a bit so in hot weather two water bottles is a good idea. Also several bike shops right along the trail. It was also nice to see vehicles patrolling the trail.
Busiest part of the trail is the Inverness and Floral City section with the most trailside businesses in that area. You can also rent bikes in Inverness. We rode on a Wed/Thu in mid March and it was not too busy.
One issue we had which we worked out was parking. The plan was to park at the south end of the trail. When we pulled into the lot there was a sign saying that parking closed at sunset. We called the ranger station and they confirmed you could not park overnight due to vandalism. The same is also true for the trailhead at Route 50, don't know about the other trailheads. We went to a Quality Inn at Rte 50 and I75 and they let us park there. This must have been a common occurance since they had a book to sign in for parking. It was less than 2 miles to the trailhead so everything worked out fine.
My wife and I rode our hybrids on this trail in 2 sections, 6 days apart. Feb 4, 2015 we rode with another couple 13 miles south from Floral City (park behind the library). This section is smooth and rural all the way to Croom Road where there is a small shelter and port-a-john. Carry food and water on this section. There is a bike shop and restaurant in Floral City. Feb 10 we rode from the Central Motel in Inverness 6 miles south to Floral City where we again had strawberry milk shakes at the Ferris Roadside (and trailside) Market. Then, north on a smooth surface to Hernando where we ate delicious fish sandwiches at the Chicken King. The Central Motel was an excellent choice with friendly staff, clean rooms (small frig, microwave, and 4-cup coffee pot), economical, and a covered & locked bike shed. There are several restaurants and a bike shop in Inverness.
The Withlacoochee trail is in our Top Three Trails to ride in Florida! Although we live less than a mile from the Gen Van Fleet trail, we gladly drive the 60 miles to ride the Withlacoochee trail. We ride the South third of the trail from Ridge Manor South to Trilby and North to Floral City. Starting at Inverness, you can do the middle third going South, or the Northern third going North. Three days of riding 30 miles at a relaxed pace works fine for us "mature" trike riders. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of us on recumbent Bikes and Trikes. Hampton's Edge Trailside Bicycles is a leading recumbent dealer in Floral City, right on the trail. A great place to try a recumbent bike or trike.
Rode the south end of the trail today, started early so escaped the intense afternoon June heat and humidity.
Great ride for my wife and I.
Stayed at the very bike friendly Central Motel located on the trail in Inverness. The motel is located roughly midway on the trail and a perfect spot to spend a couple nights and enjoy the trail. Very clean rooms with secure storage for your bike(s) when not riding the trail. Stayed in Room 48; nice balcony with a great view of the trail.
We ride this trail every winter, from end to end over several days. It's rural, quiet and well maintained. Not too many places for lunch though, other than Inverness. And the north end of the trail at Dunnellon ends abruptly. There's no town of any kind so plan accordingly if you ride that far. Best part of the trail is southern, from the Rt 50 trailhead north to Inverness. This trail is the highlight of our annual winter trip to Florida.
We biked the section of the trail from Inverness to Ridge Manor. The trail is very well maintained. It is a rail trail, so it is well graded for a nice ride. From Inverness to Floral City, the trail parallels a road, although you generally are separated from the road by trees, and goes by some nice parks. Even though it is in town, there are not too many street crossings in this section. In Floral City the crossroads is busy, we walked our bikes across the road crossing. South of Floral City is very rural and goes through the state parks. Very few crossings and some lovely scenery. The only thing that may spoil your Zen is noise from the motorcycle area of the state park, but that is only a small section of the ride.
All along the trail there are benches, picnic tables, and gazebos. However only a few of these have water fountains - those are generally found only at the park trailheads. So bring water!
South of Floral City, you won't find places to buy food/drink just off the trail, so plan accordingly. We can recommend the Shamrock Inn pub at Floral city for a good lunch and they are very welcoming to trail users. While having lunch there we overheard some locals talking about promoting trail bike tourism, so that is a great sign that they want to welcome bikers. This pub has a path from the trail to their parking lot. BUT they do not have a bike rack!?! We locked our bikes together. They do have outside seating, so you could sit with your bike. We also tried Coach's Pub in Inverness, which is a couple of blocks off the trail. Both pubs had good food and beer.
For finding amenities and local businesses, I highly recommend buying the trail guide book from the Friends of the Withlacoochee Trail http://www.railstotrailsonline.com/club-merchandise.html It was $6 and was quickly mailed to me. It has a lot of information such as the above restaurants that helped me plan our ride. It shows trailheads, parking, restrooms, picnic tables, local stores and restaurants as well as some history and local information. I like to ride on trails, not roads so it was well worth it.
There were two bike shops on our section of the trail, one at Inverness, and one at Floral City.
As for lodging, Central Motel is on the trail at Inverness and has some good reviews. We chose to stay at Bushnell Bed and Breakfast and I'm sure glad we did! It is a couple of miles from the Lake Townsen Park trailhead (which we drove to, as there is no shoulder on the roads there). See my review on Tripadvisor.
Although we rode in February, this could be a good summer trail ride, as there is a lot of shade and mature trees canopied over much of the trail. In February, even on the weekend with nice weather, the trail wasn't crowded. Trail users were mostly bikes. I think a lot of it is too rural with spread-out trailheads for casual walkers. There is a horse trail that parallels the paved trail. Horses aren't allowed on the paved trail. It may be busier in the summer, we'll have to go back and see. Everyone we met during the trip was very nice, from locals to other trail riders. Enjoy a nice long ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail.
We have been coming to the Homosassa area for 5 years and drive over to Inverness to jump on the trail. It is so pleasant to ride this trail, when you get far enough south you experience a outdoor wonderland with few homes or streets. We love it! Well maintained, water and restrooms. Thank you to everyone who helps to keep this trail maintained.
I rode the trail for the first time the first week of the New Year (2014)it was 32 degrees one morning brrrr! , I got on at Inverness and rode up to Dunnellon. Then back down to Inverness and left the trail behind the Central Motel. I love this trail and wish I had one like it where I'm from (Upstate SC). Thank you to all who maintain this trail and to local law enforcement who keep it safe. Thanks also to Inverness for being so " Bike Friendly", next time I come I will take the trail from one end the other... Can't wait.
Plenty of parking at the trail heads, clean restrooms and a smooth surface make this one of if not the best trails in Florida. It's down hill in both directions. Nice restaurant and art museum on Orange Ave. across hwy. in Floral City.
Every day after I work I throw on my quad skates and skate the trails for about an hour in the evenings. It is so beautiful and so serene. I love hearing the gators croak by the lakes in the evening and the birds singing. I am so blessed the trails are in my backyard. There is a fitness work out in Inverness which I also use on a daily basis. I love it!!!!!
This trail, being one of the best in my home-state, gets little attention from outsiders, but we Floridians love it... - We stayed, in early June 2013, in Inverness and rode north one day and south the next day. We didn't cover the entire trail, even in two days of riding.
One can / could ride to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, from the trail, in Inverness as well as some of the other towns through which the trail passes...
We've ridden other parts of the trail at other times, and we're likely to ride it many times more...
The maintenance the surface, the amenities, and the overall experience was excellent.
We hope others enjoy this trail as much as we did / do.
I rode all of the Withlacoochee in each direction over two days. On day one (a weekday) I rode from the Owensboro Trailhead (south of Trilby) to Floral City (exactly 23 miles) and back; on day two I rode from Floral City to the trail end south of Dunellon (exactly 23 miles) and back. There are bike shops that do repairs and have some repair parts right off the trail in downtown Floral City and at the Inverness Trailhead where the red caboose is located. I was on a Giant Defy 1 road bike with 700c x 25mm tires. Tracking a leisurely road bicycle pace, it was about 4.5 hours a day with stops along the way. I’ve never seen so many recumbent bicycles as on this trail…perhaps three to one compared to traditional bicycles…but I noted the shop in Floral City sells them. There were few places for drinking water on the lower half and then drinking fountains started to show up here and there. I carried a 2 liter hydration pack, plus an 0.7 liter bottle, which is quite a lot, but worth it, particularly on the southern half. The trail condition was very good the entire length of the trail; perhaps a few very small heaves here and there, but overall, really quite good. The trail was well shaded from its beginning near Trilby up to Inverness and then the shading disappeared for the remainder of the trail. You will definitely want to have your sunscreen on the whole trail length, but for sure on the trail north of Inverness. Overall, the Withlacoochee Trail gets top marks on just about every point. It has the Florida ambiance which is missing from many other trails such as the Suncoast Trail that runs along the highway and makes you feel fenced in under the barbed wire overhang. It is devoid of the homeless beggars and other weirdos that the Pinellas Trail is known for. Clean, maintained, pleasant…great ride.
I rode this trail in both directions the 7-9th of February 2013. Well maintained, shady, flat and there are amble places for rest stops but was disappointment in the paucity of river views. The bicycle shops in Inverness and Floral City were not very inviting or acted very interested in having patrons in their shops.
Stayed in Inverness at the Central Motel and it was very convenient for riding the trail and the room was large enough for bicycles.
Rode the Withlacoochee Bay Trail on the 10th of Feb. in route to ride portions of the Nature Coast Trail. Easy trail and very scenic riding along the barge canal to the Gulf.
Overall and enjoyable bicycling trip to this area of Florida.
I started at the Ridge Manor Trailhead, going north. I did 13 miles going up and then went back to start. About 5 minutes after I started a raccoon crossed the trail in fron of me, did not have time to picture it. Then after aprox another 5 mins a black snake crossed the trail and again coul not picture it. The snake was about 5-6 feet long and was very fast. Another 10 more mins, after the snake, an armadillo was on the side of the trail and was not scared of me. I took a picture with my cell phone. I am planning to go back again. I have been to a couples of nice trail, but this one is very interesting, good parking, good id sign, long etc.
I've been living in Tampa for 1 1/2 year. I became a rider before coming from San Juan,Puerto Rico. Its been amazing riding here because in PR there is no many trails and the congestion of vehicles makes it very difficult. I diceded to visit with my friends differents trail and I picked this on. Although it was an hour and a half driving it was worth it. We started at Brooksville and rode north until Inverness. It was a beautiful day, gourgeous views. I had a flat tire (twice same tire) and I recieved help twice. It was a great ride an experience.... and waiting for another visit/ride.
I rode the Withlacoochee trail for over a hundred miles, going up and down. This was from January 31 to February 7, 2012. The trail is what brought me to the area, and I stayed near Brooksville and most of the time, in Inverness. What a contrast to the huge amount of traffic around Orlando and the crush of people in DisneyWorld! This trail was peaceful, beautiful, and quiet. I loved hearing only the birds singing! As a woman alone, I felt very safe on this trail. It is against the law here to be on the trail after dark and several times I saw the Crime Watch patrol vehicle go up and down the trail. I stopped my bicycle frequently to do many geocaches along the trail. Seeing my bike on the side of the road, many people going by asked if I was all right or needed any help. This was a great vacation for a northerner from cold country, and I would highly recommend this trail.
As someone relatively new to cycling, I was invited by friends to go for a ride. We drove to Inverness and started our ride from there. There is a nice park with restroom facilities and ample safe parking. We headed North towards Dunnellon for 16 miles where the trail ends, and then headed back. This Saturday ride in December produced a number of bikers, walkers, and three turtles on the trail. We didn't see any other wildlife but I have heard it's not surprising to a snake or two or even a gator sprawled across or near the trail. Our ride was very leisurely, very straight, and lacked any concerns about hills. I will return and experience the other 30 miles of the trail that lie to the South of Inverness. If you are looking for a peaceful ride amidst the wonders of nature, try this trail!
This was my third time on the Withlacoochee and I finally did it all. The scenery is terrific with all the lush vegetation and bucolic country towns. There are nice rest stops spaced every few miles. The southern end seemed more scenic & peaceful. I met up with the "Withlacoochee Bike Riders" in Inverness which made the riding even better. If you hate hills this is definitely the trail for you. This part of Florida has the "theme parks" beat by a long shot.
Traveling to a "Florida Winter Conference", we ventured on to the Withlacoochee Trail because of our Rails-Trails book. Very useful to have for the region you are driving through. The description was good enough to warrant a look and the time to stop driving was right. What a delight. Sunshine, water, and green enveloped us as we adjusted from the frozen north. The Spanish Moss and people not covered in 20 layers is as welcome as the smooth pavement, pleasant smiles and the facilities of the Sun Cycle Center in Inverness, Fl. Highly recommend it. Even recommended it to ourselves and road another 20 miles on our way north. We will visit this place again. Great Golden Corral right down the road for stokin up.
Being from Colorado, and now living on Florida, I longed to find a nice paved trail closed to anything motorized. Once we discovered this trail, it quickly became our favorite to ride. Although we have to drive for 4 hours (within the speed limit) less if in a hurry, we frequent the Withlacoochee State Trail as often as possible. You can spend an hour or all day on the trail. It's fun to ride though all the towns connected to the trail as well. We always stay in Inverness so we can eat at The McLeod Bistro. Their food is incredible! Sometimes, if we are near Flora City, we swing into The Shamrock Inn. They have excellent burgers! The trail never seems crowed even if there is an organized ride with hundreds of participants. You'll always see some wildlife. There are plenty of places to rest, plenty of places to top off your water bottles and plenty of points of interest. 46 miles or 92 miles RT of beautiful riding! What could be better?
What a wonderful trip... started around 930 am still foggy and slightly chilly but fantastic!!!! Traffic was very minimal and roads that were crossed were county roads. Only mistake was completing the entire trail...yikes 92 miles and wow we were tired... but oh well it sure was fun.
I spent a week plus vacation in the area this September and rode the trail 7 of the 9 days. It was fun! I rode in the mornings all but one of the days and never found it crowded - I could ride at speed with only the intersections to slow you down.
Sharing the trail: there were cyclists, walkers, runners and skaters, but as I mentioned above; they were not crowding the trail. Everyone was exceptionally courteous.
Wildlife: I saw the normal squirrels, bunnies and birds but one morning ran across a bunch of wild turkeys (pretty cool) and then there were the snakes. I only saw three; two black snakes that scooted across the trail so fast I couldn't even get my camera out - both were about 5 feet long. One was about 6 miles south or the northern trailhead and the other was south of Inverness, I don't remember the mile marker. The one I remember really well however was a 7 foot rattlesnake (no joking) sunning himself just north of Ridge Manor Trail head (between 40 and 39 when travelling southbound). A recumbent rider and I came upon stretched out lengthwise across the trail! We slid by him (on his tail end of course) and he never once moved. We were so startled we never stopped to try and take a photo (darn), but how cool to see such a beautiful snake up close!
I rode that section several times more during the week (camera ready this time) but never saw him again. Next year I'm planning to come back to the area but will tie my vacation to the Annual Trail Ride the first weekend in October.
I rode this again in mid-Dec '09 starting from the northern end trailhead (which was quite a ways off the main road) to Inverness. Unfortunately, it was cool & rainy so I ended the ride there. A nice segment except for lots of road crossings with traffic. In Hernando you have to cross a busy road & jog around to get back onto it--best to walk your bike here. Maybe next trip I'll be able to finish the southern portion of the trail which seemed to be a little more scenic.
Most of the trail is through relatively sparsely populated areas with few cross roads, making it a safe and steady ride. With the trail being 46 miles long, a up and back ride takes you just short of a century ride (92 miles). The scenery is great. Slow down and enjoy it.
It was mentioned in one of the items that there was a trail guide available outlining the Withlacoochee State Trail. That is correct, our CSO compiled a book of the 46-mile trail, breaking each section of the trail down into small incriments and not only giving any history known of the area, but also lodging, eating establishments, etc. If anyone is interested in the guide, please contact us at Rails to Trails of the Withlacoochee, P.O. Box 807, Inverness, FL 34451-0807 or email@example.com. We invite all to enjoy our wonderful trail.
I'm also an escapee from the frozen tundra (MN) where our paved trail systems are excellent & very extensive but unusable for biking for 4-5 months. I started in Inverness at a very nice trailhead & rode my folding bike south. The first 8 miles or so to Floral City were small-town/suburban next to a busy highway. The farther south I went the better it got with the beautiful live oaks draped with Spanish Moss and the palm trees. It became very rustic and peaceful except for quite a few riders (on a Thurs afternoon). I stopped at Lake Townsen Park; nice rest rooms, benches and excellent drinking water. I liked the mileage markers painted on the trail. On my next trip to FL I'll definately ride this one again.
Took this op to ask if there's some way you can help get word out about a lost dog. She was sent down here to a rescue and got off the property only 4 days later. She's now in Withlacoochee Forest (verified sighting) and we need help to get the word out to bikers along the trail she's hanging out around. ny suggestions? Hank you so much!!!!
I live near this trail and bicycle it regularly. You are welcome to contact me for more information. Also, on request, I can supply an email version of the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders "Seven Paved Trails" document describing this trail and six others (Gainesville-Hawthorne, Nature Coast, Suncoast, Pinellas, Van Fleet, and West Orange/Minneola), including driving directions to each.
Dick Marr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"WHAT A NICE BREAK FROM THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF VIRGINIA. WE SPENT 3 DAYS ON THE TRAIL THE WEEK OF THE FEB. 19TH. THE LOCAL RESTAURANTS IN HERNANDO, FLORAL CITY AND INVERNESS WERE VERY GOOD. WE ATE AT THE CHICKEN KING IN HERNANDO THE FIRST DAY. UNFORTUNATELY SOMETIME DURING THE WEEK, THE CHICKEN KING HAD A MAJOR FIRE. I UNDERSTAND THEY PLAN TO REOPEN."
We biked from Inverness south beyond lovely Floral City with its ancient live oaks. Pastoral views of horse farms & blooming dogwoods & redbud trees. Great lunch at the rustic Shamrock Pub in Floral City.
This is our second 4 week winter vacation on this trail.
We are greatful to the people of Florida to provide such a trail and we are going to return.
I use this trail to train for USA coast to coast fast crossing by bike.
"I spent three nights camping near the trail this week so my wife and daughter and I could ride every day. It was a delight in every way. The trail is beautifully maintained and runs through clean woods and small towns. Our riding gave me my first experience of Inverness, Fla., a place I'll be sure to revisit. "
We walk and ride bikes daily on the trail and follow the rules. It would be so much nicer if bikers would be courteous and announce themselves when passing. The rules state this but it seems no-one observes this. We were hit once when bikes were coming the other way and a biker behind us didn't want to stop and tried to squeeze between us.
"This message is for the bikers up in the snow belt who can't handle the Florida rat race: This area of Fla. has more bike riding than you can shake a stick at, on and off road. This trail is awesome and there are a half dozen other trails nearby. Vanfleet, Santos, Croom, Razorback, ect. Do yourself a favor, get off I-75, enjoy the weather and ride."
I am proud to tell you we are trying to get this wonderfull trail extended from Trilby To Dade City-then Zephyrhills wants to have it run to there area.. www.trilbyfl.com The Greater Trilby Community association is very active in pasco
"When I was a kid I always daydreamed about there being a network of bicycle highways. This is exactly what I daydreamed of!
This trail has a very smooth surface, it's wide (12-feet wide, I think), there are very few road crossings, rural views, and the trail is relatively flat. I actually wouldn't mind a few hills, but when I was a kid I dreamed of flat bike roads!
I went from Trilby to past Floral Springs. My next trip to Florida I have to do the rest. Do this trail. It's great!"
"We enjoyed the many miles of riding on this trail. We also enjoyed the guide book that was put out by, I believe, the Friends of the Withlacoochee Trail group.
We got the booklet at the bike store on the path in Inverness. It's too bad many people can't carry their water bottles, beer cans, etc. to the nearest waste can. Many were available. How thoughtless some people can be.
We enjoyed the towns along the way. More camping opportunities would be nice though."
"This trail offers it all: rolling hills, rivers, fields, forests and nature at its best. It's a must see and do!"
We have skated the trail since it opened and it is one of the best trails we have ever skated! Exceptional beauty and wildlife are found along this trail at any time of the year.
"Hurray! This one's done right. Finally something Pasco County can be proud of (even if only a small part of). No graft or corruption here, just pure goodness. From the poor oppressed people, I say Thank-You."
"This is just about riding with two friends, the perfect ride on a perfect day down the perfect trail. It’s what riding should be about, when you can share the joy it brings with close friends. Of course, it’s also a great way to meet some new people who may become friends. It’s always interesting each time you go out, because you never know what new adventure may be waiting.
Riding along from Hampton’s Edge Recumbent Shop, to the quaint, trailside Gazebo at Floral City, and then on to an early breakfast at Cockadoodles in Inverness just doesn’t get any better. Shade trees line the trail for the most part, and the heat of the day doesn’t catch up with you until almost noontime.
Peacefulness surrounds you leaving the irritation of “city sounds” far behind. No words need be spoken but it’s hard not to express the inner feelings of joy and relaxation. Birds abound, and the mixed chorus is always perfect pitch and perfect harmony.
These are the things memories are made of, forever engraved on the back roads of our mind. Time may treat us well, and not change the Forrest or the small towns that lie along the trail. It may all survive the onslaught of new residential developments spewing out the brainwashed notion of the American Dream, when in fact they destroy the real dream. And in the not too distant future we may take that ride again, and see if the “Hen still delivers the Goods” at Cockadoodles!
Read the complete article a www.recumbent-bikes-truth-for-you.com/withlacoochee-trail-2004.html"
I grew up in Inverness and still never get tired of riding this rail-trail. I'm a road rider who really enjoys being able to focus on training or relax with the great views without having to worry about cars (except at a few blind intersections).
I typically start in Inverness at North Apopka or Floral City at Highway 48. It is a perfect metric century from Inverness to Trilby and back. This is a very flat trail and can be riden at a relatively quick pace. There is plenty of room for safe passing of walkers or runners.
"Currently, the southern most point to start on this trail is at a parking lot on the west side of Highway 301, about five miles north of Dade City and one mile south of Trilicoochee. I have ridden north from this point 20 miles to a point one mile past Interstate 75.
Birding along this trail is excellent and you will also see deer, bob cat, otter, muskrat, tortices, indigo snake and prety much all the wildlife Florida has to offer. The grades are easy to peddle and for the most part you are away from traffic noise. I'm 65 and it takes me five to six hours of easy cycling to ride the entire trail to the northern terminus."
"The trail was beautiful, especially the Inverness area with the lakes. And the forest was very nice, too. The pavement is wide enough to pass others, and it's in good shape for a smooth ride. There are plenty of spots to stop and rest. The ride was very relaxing and fun. I rode from Citrus Springs to Trilby. I wish there was a rail-trail closer to Miami. "
I recently did the Pinellas Trail and all the bike trails on Sanibel Island and this one is the best all around. I used Inverness as a base to launch a north leg and then return the next day to finish off the southern portion. There are restrooms and places to eat along the trail near most trailheads. Most crossings have no car traffic and we only had to stop a few times. The trail features good pavement and rural woodlands as it passes through the uncrowded country setting.
This trail provides exercise for everyone. It also provides people with a greater understanding of what Florida really is about. A wonderful experience.
"I have ridden Withlacoochee many times. It is one of the most beautiful, peaceful rides Florida has to offer. Winding through old farms, through tiny towns, it is truly an opportunity to relieve stress. I recommend a Camel Back or other hydrating system though. In the summer, it can get hot out there! Enjoy! I ride it on a mountain bike. The longest ride I've done on it was 63 miles, starting at Trilby and going past Citrus. The longest blade I've done on it was 22 miles, again, starting at Trilby. "
"I have ridden this trail many times. I love it! There are no cars to worry about, it is clean, there are places to eat. What more can you ask?"
"I have ridden the Withlacoochee trail many times. It is not only one of the best places to ride since there are no cars, it has places to rest, eat and drink."
First time on this trail.....Rode the Clean Air Century......a great ride for a great cause at a great location......we liked it so much we went back and enjoyed it a little more the next morning before heading home. We've already got this one scheduled in for next year.
"Clean Trail with friendly local people. Look for shy Cooter Turtles in the dirt enbankment that runs parallel with the trail. This trail & the quaint, quiet towns along it is a pleasant contrasr to the coastal areas of FL. This is the peaceful, warm relaxing FL I prefer. If staying over, I recommend The Crown Hotel in Inverness."
"their is talk of extending the withlacoochee state trail possibly south off of US 301. i am not sure where it may go. possible cities in my mind maybe connecting to van fleet trail to polk city, maybe to dade city or zephryrhills or maybe to tampa. anywhere is possible. if someone knows, please give some feedback please. thank you."
"Paved, 12 feet wide, 46 miles long. Uncongested. Can bicycle without much stopping although plenty of benches along trail.
Popular parking places are in Inverness, FL at Wallace Brooks Park (Dampier St.) or at N. Apopka Ave. near bicycle shop. The 30 miles south of Inverness are more scenic than the northern 16 miles. Also trail parking at US 50 near Ridge Manor, FL. where trail bridge goes over US 50.
Floral City, FL is midpoint of trail with Gazebo a popular rest stop.
I live in area. From Inverness can drive to 6 more paved trails (each 16 - 50 miles long), bike, & drive back same day. Email for more info."
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